Hopalong Hollow....

Hopalong Hollow, where the Blueberries grow sweet, and the moss feels soft beneath your feet.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Old Pyrography

  I was 19 yrs.old when I first discovered  old Pyrography. I found this long funny box in an antique store, and bought it for a small bit of change, ( I know it had to have been inexpensive, else I would not have been able to afford it at the time.)
I had no idea what it was, other than an odd old box, not particularly attractive; but it had a lot of storage room for art supplies and miscellaneous "somethings".

 Since that time I have learned to love these lightweight boxes which come in all sizes. The craft of Pyrography became a hobby during the period of 1870- 1930's and it is, precisely what you would imagine: PYRO being fire... woodburning being the craft. Originally from Europe and specifically from Flanders, the art of woodburning took on new  life for the Victorians.
 This lady is using a  benzene fueled tool with a hand bellows to burn into her project.
Women, men and children could create lovely little trinket boxes, (with designs either pre-stamped upon the purchased, light-weight box, or using paper patterns), to wood-burn their own treasures.

 There was a huge factory in Brooklyn NY called the Flemish Art Company  These factory workers are "stamping" and "burning" on the designs . Common lettering on boxes would be: Gloves, Handkerchiefs, Ribbon, Ties and Hose.
The idea, was for the hobbyist to purchase the pre-stamped box and the Pyrography kit to create a wood-burned treasure at home.

The variety in sizes ranged from tiny boxes of 3"x5". to boxes 36 inches long,
(as my first box you saw in top photo). Most of my collection has the pre stamped image, but has not actually been "burned" yet. I think I do prefer these.
You can pretty much date the boxes by the image and hairstyle of the ladies adorning some boxes
I use these for many items... but not  ties, gloves and hankies.
 This box perfectly holds 12 skeins of Valdani floss ( purchased this floss from Michelle at Raspberry Rabbits, if you like the colors)
  In my traveling artist box, which is a fairly large seed box to which I added a handle, I carry a few Pyrography boxes to hold mini art supplies.
Open it up and wallah, tiny palettes, brushes and the necessities to create art on the road.

  (Love those little tin Altoid boxes too. I have dozens of them to hold tiny things. And who does not like to pop a cinnamon Altoid, "curiously strong"!)
  Pyro's are also great for hiding ugly things in your vintage house like:

a water pic.

some are only 1 inch high. to fit in tight spaces.
In another Vintage Seed box, are more pyros. which contain the items I need to take to art shows.

  These are my favorites, because they are so small and because the kitty one was quite a find!

I have my price tags in this kitty box.

Aren't these just delightful... I wonder what you could put in such boxes? Your thread, pens, beads, receipts, jewelry?
Sometimes they will have been dyed with inks. I wonder why the "hobbyist" did not finish coloring these? At a later date, it appears that someone used nail polish on the darkest rose.. I wish I could get that off!
  what I really love is this one:

 An actual Pyrography kit from the aforementioned Flemish Art Company In NY

It actually looks a little intimidating to me
  I wonder how many unfortunate events occurred whilst using this rather bizarre and daunting array of objects.
 The literature from the company calls this a great hobby for young girls and boys...hmmm I wonder.
 I'm not so sure I would have turned my kids loose with this or even have tried it myself... but who knows. The Victorians were a naive lot at times.

  The gaseous fluids are no longer in the bottles and the rubber hose which attaches to the wood burning  tips is past it's useful life .I have the diminished rubber BELLOWS bulb as well, ( that the French lady is using in the ad; but it has shrunk beyond recognition, see that black thingy in the box?)
It may well be, that the owner of this box never even used it, because the stamped top was never burned into. You can see the faint outlines of tulips and a bird. It looks as if the bird was started, just.
  But  you don't need a vintage Flemish Pyrography set to have  lovely vintage box's like these with little hinges and locks and lids which click closed with  a most pleasant sound.
 You can still find wonderful Pyrography boxes for as little as $10 and as high as $200. I see them all the time on ebay, a vast array of them. I missed out last night on a box marked "Ribbons", forgot all about it. I wonder, did you get that box Christie? I hope so!
Have fun bidding!


  1. Jeri, I have never heard about nor seen one of these boxes before. Very interesting. I think they were marketed to children before the time we began putting warning labels on things like "do not hold the wrong end of a chainsaw". If you Google "obvious warning labels" you'll get quite a chuckle out of some of the lawyer-written warning labels!

    1. Cathy, Another funny bit of history are old laws,still on the books such as " it is illegal to cross the street on Sunday while eating a pickle " Seriously! LOL!!!!!

  2. I collect these boxes, also. I missed out on one on eBay a couple yrs ago that I really wanted. It said 'Buttons' which is another weakness of mine. I still think about that box and hope to find another some day.
    Fun post.

    1. Oooh, a Button box, I would love that one too!

  3. JERI! Now you have introduced me to something very special, and that I've never seen before. I remember my father having a collection of very old boxes dating way back in the 1900s, and he used those for his tools. I always loved them since they did have an antique look with great hinges. Your collection is impressive, and what better way to store your threads and other goodies! I love to just open my tin or cardboard boxes and rummage through my trinkets that I enjoy using if I make an art piece.

    Well my friend, spring is coming here, finally. Melting is going on here and now we just wait. HAVE FUN! Anita

    1. Anita, soon those rabbits will be romping through your French garden!

  4. Ribbons...Ohhhhh...****sigh**** ...I hope the lucky one to acquire such a sweet box enjoys it as much as we would have... My other boxes arrived so I now have 4 in my collection. I love love love your traveling art box! I enjoy seeing other artists' treasures...i don't know what it is, but I love a boxful of bits and bobs, pretty threads and pens, tiny papers and tags...goodness, gives me a thrill:) So thank you thank you for sharing!!
    Hugs and love...

    1. Christie,I knew you were looking at boxes, and I thought it may have been you. Oh well, the beauty is, they're always available and the hunt is half the fun!

  5. Your boxes are so neat. I've seen only a couple but had no idea what they were.

    Sorry you missed out on the last one.
    Maybe tomorrow something will make up for it. (Wink, wink)

    Today I was searching craigslist and found a featherweight for ONLY $25. I thought I'd have a heart attack before I got there to pick it up!

    God is good.

    1. $25, I am speechless! I learned sewing on a 1955 featherweight, They are so cute and I really want one.

  6. What a neat post Jeri! You have taught me something new, and I will be keeping my eyes open now for these wonderful boxes. The water pic photo made me laugh. I suppose things like that do stand out a bit in your wonderful vintage style home. Thanks for an interesting and informative post!

  7. This is beautiful-I have never seen these boxes-or didn't know it if I have. Now I'll keep my eyes open for them. I use old cigar boxes, but they are rather plain compared with your beauties.

  8. Jeri,
    I had no idea these beautiful boxes were out there... Ok.. now I am on the hunt.
    I love the kitty box, and the beautiful ladies with roses... What a great idea to store art supplies.. You have such a beautiful collection..
    Years ago I gave wood burning a try, I found it is not as easy as I thought...
    Thank you so much for sharing .
    Enjoy your day

  9. Love all your pyro boxes Jeri and the peek inside. I think my earliest crafting was pyrography at summer camp. Many years later, I have done quite a bit of it on gourds. Mostly animals and nature. Never thought about the Victorians doing it on boxes.

  10. Wow, what a wonderful collection of these boxes you have. I better look through hubby's workshop to see if there are any in there stuffed with goodies he collected through the years. Ya' never know.

    Thanks for sharing your collection and telling how you use them.

    Happy Spring to you ~ FlowerLady

  11. Jeri - these boxes are exceptional. Love all the hidden treasures you have collected in them as well. Makes me think I better check out e-bay - I just might purchase one for my small collections. Take care and thanks so much for sharing friend. Have a beautiful day.

  12. We are fortunate to have some of these boxes made by one of our grandmas--and some that we made as kids and our boys made when they were younger--treasures one and all. There's a woodburning kit somewhere around here should I get the urge (and the painted flowers you showed just might be inspiring me this spring, Jeri). I remember how hot my fingers would get from holding the tool and needing frequent breaks. Sweet memories!

  13. What an interesting history, dear Jeri....
    I remember enjoying the modern version of wood-burning in shop class.
    The boxes you have collected are beautiful...and I, too, love keeping objects in pretty, sturdy containers...
    These are so special!
    Have a splendid weekend, sweet friend...
    - Irina

  14. Hi Jeri, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  15. Thank you for leaving me a comment and introducing me to your lovely blog. I love old boxes and these look so good. Sarah x

  16. Hi Jeri, what a fascinating post. I had never heard of pyrography. Thankyou for sharing and for inadvertently adding to my budding antique knowledge. Rae

  17. Never heard of Pyrography before. Interesting post.

  18. Jeri, what a fabulous collection of precious boxes. I love them all. and your descriptions. You are such a special person! I love everything you do!!!


Please do leave a word or two, we SO like to hear from you!